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Richard Artschwager (1924-2013)

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Richard Artschwager started working in the 1960s exclusively as a freelance artist, having completed a science degree and after many years as owner of a furniture workshop. His oeuvre encompassed many style directions: the reduced and clear forms of his objects and paintings reflect minimalism whilst his use of industrially made materials such as Resopal and Celotex take up an element of Pop Art, and his ‘Blps’ mechanisms deploy ideas of conceptual art.  This work by Artschwager reminded me of Fons Haagmans who does in some way the same. But where Artschwager tends to become a minimal artist. Haagmans stay’s always far from it and in his form language you always can recognize reality.

 

Artschwager’s first solo exhibition was in 1965 at the legendary Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. The most comprehensive retrospective of his complete work up till now was opened in 2012 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, moving on to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013), and the Haus der Kunst, Munchen and the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco in 2014.

www.ftn-books.com has some excellent Artschwager titles available.

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Jean Messagier (1920-1999)

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Personally i think Jean Messagier was a true Avant Garde artist. He explored paths and ways of painting well before others did and researched and developed a kind of painting which was typical for his art.

An almost spontaneous movement with the brush makes paintings and watercolors that feel organic, but these works are far from spontaneous, but well thought over works of art . It is the same as with Hans Hartung. The works look existed from some movements with pencil or brush, but designs and sketches prove that the gesture is not spontane and the result not just abstract, but a very well thought over abstract composition which is enlarged for the painting.

The same with Jean Messagier works . It is not necessary to buy an expensive painting by Messagier, because the Maeght gallery made some very nice Derriere le Miroir publication with Messagier and www.ftn-books.com has one of the most sought after CARGO publications with work by Jean Messagier available at its site.

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Giovanni Nicolai ( continued )

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This is to announce that FTN Art will represent Giovanni Nicolai with his art work.

From now on a selection of his art will be available in the FTN Art section of these pages. Feel free to contact me if you want more information. The start will be  a series of affordable sketches at euro 150,–. Executed in different techniques with Crayon , pencil and paint on paper. If you desire information on his paintings please sent me a mail and i will propose you  a selection of paintings currently available.

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Nicolas de Stael (1914-1955)

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Another artists artist is Nicolas de Stael. You can find some of his works in french museum and possibly there are some works in the Netherlands in collections, but the main part of his paintings that are in public collections can be found in French museum, because in France de Stael is known.  Undeservedly de Stael has not become the great name in art he deserves to be. He should be known worldwide , because his abstract art is a highly personal voyage through the landscape of Modern Art. In his short life he experimented with lyrical geometric abstract forms , using less prominent colors than many of his contemporaries.

Every decade there is another large retrospective exhibition in which is tried to explain the importance of de Stael, but so far without success. Still it is neccessary that curators from all over the world present again and again this groundbreaking atist until the greater public becomes familiar with his kind of forms , shiftings and paintings and starts to appreciate this great artist. Preferably not in a way that in every household a reproduction is hung on the wall because it is fashionable to have a “DE STAEL’ on your wall, but in a way that a large public can grow accustomed  to and appreciate this great artist. to start….

www.ftn-books.com has some great titles available

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Ben Shahn (1898-1969)

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Ben Shahn  is one of the older Modern Painters emerging in the 40’s and 50’s from the American art scene. Jewish background and born in Russia. After his marriage to mrs Goldstein he travelled North Africa and the great museums in Europe and this shows, because from that date the influence of Klee and Picasso can be recognized in his works. Later he developed a style of his own in which color was an important aspect in his paintings.

Shahn mixed different genres of art. His body of art is distinctive for its lack of traditional landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. Shahn used both expressive and precise visual languages, which he united through the consistency of his authoritative line. His background in lithography contributed to his devotion to detail Shahn is also noted for his use of unique symbolism, which is often compared to the imagery in Paul Klee’s drawings. While Shahn’s “love for exactitude” is apparent in his graphics, so too is his creativity. In fact, many of his paintings are inventive adaptations of his photography and that is an aspect i did not know before. The Ben Shahn catalogue designed by Willem Sandberg for the Stedelijk Museum and available at www.ftn-books.com shows exactly why i think Shahn is one of the more important painters from last century.

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Wout Muller (1946-2000)

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Wout Muller , a member of the group of New Realist painters will certainly grow in importance and appreciation in the next decades to come. His technique and detailing is the best possible and his compositions are timeless. In many cases the paintings and drawings contain some erotic elements, which make their appeal certain for all decades to come.

Of course there are other realist painters who use erotic elements to enhance their paintings. Melle, Aat Veldhoen and Hans Kanters are among them, but none of them knows exactly how to create a landscape that looks more than a “dream” and has the softness needed to be an outstanding painting and not an ensemble of erotic objects. Yes, from all these painters Wout Muller is my personal favorite. www.ftn-books.com has some wout Muller titles available.

 

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Francis Picabia is “PAPA DADA”

It took a long time for me to finally appreciate the works by Picabia. Once known as “Papa Dada,” Francis Picabia was one of the principle figures of the Dadamovement both in Paris and New York. A friend and associate of Marcel Duchamp, he became known for a rich variety of work ranging from strange, comic-erotic images of machine parts to text-based paintings that foreshadow aspects of Conceptual art. Even after Dada had been supplanted by other styles, the French painter and writer went on to explore a diverse and almost incoherent mix of styles. He shifted easily between abstraction and figuration at a time when artists clung steadfastly to one approach, and his gleeful disregard for the conventions of modern art encouraged some remarkable innovations even later in his career, from the layered Transparency series of the 1920s to the kitsch, erotic nudes of the early 1940s. Picabia remains revered by contemporary painters as one of the century’s most intriguing and inscrutable artists.

on the excellent site THE ART STORY i found this text on the ideas of Picabia

In the 1910s, Picabia shared the interests of a number of artists who emerged in the wake of Cubism, and who were inspired less by the movement’s preoccupation with problems of representation than by the way the style could evoke qualities of the modern, urban, and mechanistic world. Initially, these interests informed his abstract painting, but his attraction to machines would also shape his early Dada work, in particular his Mechanomorphs – images of invented machines and machine parts that were intended as parodies of portraiture. For Picabia, humans were nothing but machines, ruled not by their rational minds, but by a range of compulsive hungers.
Picabia was central to the Dada movement when it began to emerge in Paris in the early 1920s, and his work quickly abandoned many of the technical concerns that had animated his previous work. He began to use text in his pictures and collages and to create more explicitly scandalous images attacking conventional notions of morality, religion, and law. While the work was animated by the Dada movement’s rage against the European culture that had led to the carnage of World War I, Picabia’s attacks often have the sprightly, coarse comedy of the court jester. They reflect an artist with no respect for any conventions, not even art, since art was just another facet of the wider culture he rejected.
Figurative imagery was central to Picabia’s work from the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s, when he was inspired by Spanish subjects, Romanesque and Renaissance sources, images of monsters, and, later, nudes found in soft porn magazines. Initially he united many of these disparate motifs in the Transparency pictures, complexly layering them and piling them on top of each other to provoke confusion and strange associations. Some critics have described the Transparencies as occult visions, or Surrealist dream images, and although Picabia rejected any association with the Surrealists, he steadfastly refused to explain their content. Picabia always handled these motifs with the same playful and anarchic spirit that had animated his Dada work.
Picabia learned early on that abstraction could be used to evoke not only qualities of machines, but also to evoke mystery and eroticism. This ensured that abstract painting would be one of the mainstays of his career. He returned to it even in his last years, during which he attributed his inspiration to the obscure recesses of his mind, as he had always done.
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www.ftn-books.com has some excellent publications on Picabia including the very special Ronny van de Velde publication PICABIA ( price upon request)
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Bruce McLean (1944)

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It took me decades to discover the art of Bruce McLean. A typical Sixties artist who started with performances and now ends his career with HUGE paintings. In between …… an abundance of works of which the large canvasses i appreciate most.

An original and personal style of painting . …the result…. recognizable paintings. I looked up the artist Bruce McLean and found that his paintings are still on the verge of affordable to wealthy private collectors and maybe now is the time to start looking and finding a beautiful McLean painting for your collection?

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www.ftn-books.com has a few bruce McLean publications available

 

Bruce McLean is a Scottish sculptor, performance artist, filmmaker and painter. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1961 to 1963, and from 1963 to 1966 at St. Martin’s School of Art, London, where he and others rebelled against what appeared to be the formalist academicism of his teachers, including Anthony Caro and Phillip King. In 1965 he abandoned conventional studio production in favour of impermanent sculptures using materials such as water, along with performances of a generally satirical nature directed against the art world. When in 1972 he was offered an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, he opted for a ‘retrospective’ he titled “King for a Day” which lasted only one day. From the mid 1970s, while continuing to mount occasional performances, McLean has turned increasingly to painting/sculpture and film work. In 1985, McLean won the John Moores Painting Prize. Since retiring from his professorship of painting at the Slade School of Art, he has taken on a large studio in west London where he has been making increasingly large paintings and sculptural film works.

 

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Barrie Cooke (1931-2014)

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For me Barrie Cooke stands for the excellent taste Rudi Fuchs has in art and the beautiful designed catalogue Gracia Lebbink made for the Cooke exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in 1992. I can not remember if Cooke was present at the opening, but i still remember the first impression his paintings made on me when i first saw them in the exhibition rooms in the Gemeentemuseun. These paintings were personal and overwhelming and reminded me of the ones Francis Bacon made.

left Cooke and right Bacon

At that time Fuchs had become very interested in Irish art and presented Cooke shortly after he had had an exhibition with works by Jack B. Yeats

An artists’ artist, he won enormous respect from his peers over several generations for his utter commitment and the integrity of his vision. He was a passionate fisherman and the natural world was always at the heart of his work. His figure paintings and portraits are also exceptional.

His paintings are cherished for their dynamic, immediate, visceral connection with their subject matter. Early training at Skowhegan in the US and at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision in Salzburg helped to shape the urgent vitality of his pictorial approach – a vitality reflected in the artist’s personality.

Having grown up in Bermuda and studied in the US, he went to England in 1954 to revisit his roots but found little to engage him. So he took a ferry to Ireland and, he said, felt at home even as he walked down the gangplank.

Irish life
He settled in rural Co Clare where he and his first wife, Harriet Cooke, lived in some poverty. Later he moved to Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, with ceramic artist Sonja Landweer, who introduced him to Rudolf Steiner’s ideas on natural processes. His next move was to a remote house overlooking Lough Arrow in Co Sligo.

The Barrie Cooke Gemeentemuseum catalogue designed by Gracia Lebbink is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Teodoro Wolf Ferrari (1878-1945)

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It is hard to find work by Teodoro Wolf Ferrari, but here and there in Italy there is a chance you wil encounter his works in local Museums. Are his paintings known outside Italy….NO!

TWF always stayed a typical Italian painter who’s works were very rarely exported outside Italy, but very slowly his works becomes known outside Italy too. His works always remind me a little of Hodler and Klimt, but maybe this is because they were produced in the same time bracket as the ones by these 2 artists.

on the left Ferrari and on the right Klimt.

 

You even can distinguish an influence of Scandinavia paintings, but i doubt that he ever visited Scandinavia. It is rare to find publications on Ferrari, but ftn-books has one available at www.ftn-books.com

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